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Abraham, Skrmetta reverse primary results with wins in Saturday runoff

Louisiana added to the midterm election sweep for Republicans when its voters went to the polls for Saturday’s runoff election.

Republican Bill Cassidy ended Sen. Mary Landrieu’s bid for a fourth term with a decisive win, pulling in nearly 57 percent of the vote. Cassidy, who mainly ran on an anti-Obama platform, came in a close second to Landrieu in the primary but was able to win handily in the runoff after receiving the endorsement of some of his former opponents, particularly Rob Maness, who finished third in the primary.

In Washington Parish Cassidy made an even stronger showing, pulling in more than 59 percent of the vote. Cassidy’s win brings the total number of Republicans in the Senate to 54.

In the other congressional race in Washington Parish, Republican Ralph Abraham beat Democrat Jamie Mayo to win the race for Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District, further padding the Republicans’ majority in the House of Representatives. Abraham picked up more than 64 percent of the vote. The percentage in Washington Parish was only slightly less, with Abraham taking nearly 63 percent of the vote. Like Cassidy, Abraham, a doctor from Mangham, La., finished second in the primary but was able to muster enough votes to easily win the runoff.

This was Abraham’s first time running for political office, but he said his lack of political experience is countered by his life experience.

“I actively farm and have grown four businesses from the ground up. I’m a veteran, and I know how to meet payroll, stay within a budget and work with a large number of employees,” he said.

Abraham will replace Rep. Vance McAllister, who saw his political stock fall earlier this year when the married McAllister was caught on surveillance camera kissing a woman on his staff. Despite his efforts to put that scandal behind him, McAllister finished fourth in the primary.

The less-touted race for Public Service Commissioner proved much more exciting than the two congressional races on Saturday’s ballot. In that race, incumbent Eric Skrmetta was able to squeeze out a victory by a margin of just 1 percent, beating challenger Forest Wright, 51 percent to 49 percent. In the primary, Wright beat the incumbent by a similar margin. Washington Parish voters voted in slightly higher numbers for the incumbent, with nearly 53 percent giving the nod to Skrmetta.